FILE - New Hampshire Employment

A man walks into a restaurant displaying a "Now Hiring" sign, Thursday, March 4, 2021, in Salem, New Hampshire.

(The Center Square) – New jobless claims in New Hampshire dropped last week as more rehiring is taking place across the state's recovering economy.

At least 893 new applications for benefits were filed for the week that ended April 3 — a decline of 720 from the previous week, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's weekly report.

The decline in state jobless claims was offset slightly by 381 new claims last week for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a federally backed program that covers workers ineligible for traditional unemployment benefits. That's an increase of 189 claims over the previous week. 

Meanwhile, 21,665 continuing jobless claims — which lag behind a week but are viewed as a barometer of the unemployment situation — were filed in the week ending March 27, declining by 610 over the previous week.  

The state has paid out more than $1.8 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits since mid-March, when the COVID-19 outbreak began.

New Hampshire's jobless rate dropped slightly to 3.3% in February, according to figures released last week by the New Hampshire Employment Security.

That's the lowest unemployment rate in the Granite State since the outbreak began a year ago, and one of the lowest jobless rates in the nation.

Nationally, 744,000 new jobless claims were filed last week, an increase of about 16,000 claims from the previous week, according to the Labor Department.

Continuing claims dropped by 16,000 to about 3.7 million nationally for the week that ended March 27, the labor department said, noting that that was the lowest level since March 2020.  

Many jobless workers in New Hampshire and other states are buoyed by the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, signed by President Joe Biden last month, that extended federal pandemic relief programs until September, including a $300 per week federal enhanced benefit.

Despite the gradually improving labor market, more than 18.1 million Americans were still receiving state or federal unemployment benefits in the week ending March 20.